While I've seen this dish on the menu of many Chinese restaurants, I've often wondered who was General Tso? Evidently he was a highly-respected soldier in the Hunan region... a region that appears to have never heard of this recipe. No matter. Regardless of the origin of this dish, it is delicious, no matter it's name!
I came across this version on a wonderful blog called My Adventures in Food. The recipe is fairly simple, using easily accessible ingredients found in your local grocery store. And the flavor is outstanding, rivaling any found at your favorite Chinese restaurant. I'll be making this again and again!
General Tso’s Chicken
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce*
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced**
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 large egg whites
1-1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Vegetable oil for frying
2 green onions, green parts thinly sliced
*I used a light soy sauce. I found I needed to add about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt to balance all the flavors.
**I grated the ginger, using a medium-sized Microplane.
Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks. Whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy. Combine cornstarch, flour, and baking soda in a separate shallow dish. (I whisked the dry ingredients to really blend them.) Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well-coated, and then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, making sure all sides are coated. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Heat oil in a fryer (or Dutch oven, or a large wok) until it registers 325ºF. Fry the chicken in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through cooking. Transfer cooked chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
Re-warm the sauce over medium heat until bubbling. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Garnish with sliced green onions.
Source: My Adventures in Food